If you guys have been following me for a while, you’ll know I’ve previously RAVED about the wonder that is Antbear Eco Lodge. We visited Antbear in May of 2019, for one night – but WHAT A NIGHT! This spot is so special, truly unique and the best spot to go to just ‘get away from it all’, with no interruptions.
A small group of us bloggers took to the road at the beginning of July 2020, while intra-provincial travel was still open, however it’s now restricted yet again. Sigh. We’ll show you in our group of posts that travel is indeed possible, even during this pandemic – if you just stick to basic rules and keep a bit of distance involved!
You can check out my previous posts on Antbear here: –
You can also watch my vlog from the more recent stay here: –
After being cooped up since the 27th March, with nowhere to go but work and grocery shopping, you cannot even BEGIN to imagine how exciting a trip to Antbear was, especially during my favourite season. We last visited Antbear at the beginning of Autumn, so it wasn’t really cold and everything was still very green. I love the mountains and country in winter though – there is something charming about dry grass and misty mornings and thick jackets that will always top any other kind of holiday for me.
A few things to mention – Antbear have a brand new contactless check in. You use your phone camera to scan the QR code, fill your details out in the form and submit. You’ll be emailed your proof of check in shortly after! I love how this means no touching pens or papers. They also inform you of all the measures they are taking to ensure hygiene is up to par in terms of Covid-19.
Antbear was just as gorgeous as we remembered, a wonderful thing considering they’d been under lockdown even longer than many other industries. Even the farm is still producing some of the items that land up on your table, despite the freezing cold and dry conditions. Where ever Antbear can’t provide what they need for meals, they outsource from local businesses. So basically what you eat is fresh from Antbear or any other local farms and producers.
We spent a couple of hours settling in and taking some photos/video content. We stayed in the beautiful Mountain View room 4 this time – a mini-suite with a separate lounge area, complete with fireplace and tea/coffee making facilities. The views from all around the lodge are just beautiful, lots of gardens, views of the mountains, open pastures. So much fresh country air, something we all really needed after being mostly house-bound during the nationwide lockdown.
We spent the later part of our afternoon chatting away on the patio of the main lodge and watching the sun go down. It was one of the most perfect, beautiful afternoons I’d had in a long time. This was followed by a delectable 3 course meal that left the tummy full and warm – perfect for a chilly winter evening. Nick and I sat by our fire in our room for a short while afterwards, soaking in the time away.
Breakfast at Antbear is one of my favourite parts of the stay. An array of cereals and fresh yoghurt, muffins warm from the oven, slathered in butter and homemade jam or lemon curd (the most delicious lemon curd!), fresh breads, cheese made right there in the kitchen, as well as a full fry up. This kind of food really sets you up for a day of hiking, horse riding and general wellbeing.
We had a full day of activities planned for us. To start off was a hike along part of the slackpacking trail – one of the more interesting activities that Antbear has on offer, in collaboration with a few other lodges. Sadly I had to bail just 15min in, as my knee that I injured earlier this year started feeling a dodgy. The others set off with their pretty packed lunches, and returned later, raving about the gorgeous view.
I wandered around the surrounding area of the lodge and got some gentler exercise, before sitting down to a light lunch.
Later in the afternoon I went on a horse ride with a couple of the ladies. The horses at Antbear are SO well kept, in fact they were in some of the best condition I’ve ever seen at a hotel. The ride was just what we wanted – a bit of walking, a bit of trotting, and a well timed canter or two. They do ask your level of experience, so you can choose how you’d like to ride. Nothing quite beats cantering through an open field in the Drakensberg!
We had another beautiful sunset, and another incredibly delicious 3-course meal. One thing is for sure – Antbear know how to feed you with hearty, warming food! I really enjoyed how they seated us at one long table, but we were seated in couples. We felt like a group, yet there was enough spacing between us to keep things safe.
After dinner we were treated to one of the newest activities that Antbear has to offer, a stargazing experience in hammocks under the starry night sky, complete with local folktales, fluffy blankets and hot water bottles. Mlendeni was a little shy at first, but with some encouragement he told us all the stories of the night sky that his family had told him.
We had another truly memorable experience at Antbear, one that we’ll remember for a long time to come. We’re already talking about making a return when the weather is a bit warmer, with our fur-kids – did you know that Antbear have some pet-friendly rooms too, with fenced off gardens for your doggies?! How ideal is that for a real ‘family’ vacation?
A big thank you to Andrew, Andile and Mlendeni, as well as the other staff at Antbear who made our stay so wonderful. We all had a lovely time, and getting out into the quiet country did Nick and I the world of good. My soul felt more restored than it has in a long time.
If you’d like to book ahead for a future stay, or contact Antbear for any information, you can get in touch with them via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read the posts from the other 3 lovely ladies that were part of this weekend here: –
Camilla from Jane Wonder (coming soon)
*DISCLAIMER – while we were hosted by Antbear for the weekend, all opinions are honest and our own.